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November 11, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Jeff Dickerson, Michael Wright

Michael
  (1:02 PM)

How goes it folks? Let's get to chatting.

Zack (Chicago)

I noticed last Monday the Bears had some plays where Cutler was able to roll out of the pocket. He has a great ability to throw accurately on the run. Do you think that is something we will see more of this season?

Michael
  (1:05 PM)

Zack, that's a good question. Jay Cutler did throw a couple of lasers against the Eagles on the run. The problem with expecting more of that moving forward is that Martz's system isn't built that way. Martz's playbook actually doesn't have any rollouts. Now with that being said, we've seen the changes that Martz has in recent weeks to capitalize on the strengths of the personnel. So if it's not too extensive, I could see Martz trying to put in a couple of plays designed to get Cutler on the move. This will be interesting to see in the coming weeks.

Brian (Philadelphia, PA)

Do you think the Bears stay with the Conte/Wright combo (presuming both stay healthy) or are more changes in the future?

Michael
  (1:06 PM)

I think they've found a comfort zone with Chris Conte and Major Wright, and I'm sure they'd like to try to build some continuity on the back end by giving them more snaps together. Brandon Meriweather did go in for a series against the Eagles in place of Wright. But that could've been a result of the ankle injury Wright sustained or the Bears could be using a rotation. Remember, last year the Bears rotated Danieal Manning, Chris Harris and Wright pretty regularly.

jay (san marcos)

what do you think about tyler clutts? do you think he is a long term answer for being fortes main blocker in chicago?

Michael
  (1:08 PM)

Jay, I think Tyler Clutts is a beast in the making. Bears coach Lovie Smith told me in the offseason that he felt the team was lacking a true fullback, and the plan was to go out and get one. I think they found one in Clutts, who still hasn't fully flourished into what he can ultimately be. I do see him as a long-term answer at that spot.

Chris (Minnesota)

Bad news about Carimi. Let's say the Bears shut him down for the season, could you see them trying him at LT if Webb does not continue to improve next season?

Michael
  (1:11 PM)

Chris, actually offensive line coach Mike Tice had some pretty high praise for J'Marcus Webb just yesterday. Now, could he be an option at left tackle next season? Absolutely. As you know, it's always about competition and the Bears will certainly give Carimi a chance to regain a spot in that starting lineup. Like Tice said, the Bears have a lot of good problems along that offensive line. Suprisingly, all of the sudden, that unit is really deep.

Vinny (New Jersey)

Carimi to have knee surgury now? Was this a another preexisting condition which Angelo failed to acknowledge (Chris Williams back)? Doesn't he know that doctors get paid a lot of money to determine these facts?

Michael
  (1:13 PM)

C'mon, Vinny. Let's not put this one on Jerry Angelo. Carimi's situation in my opinion comes down to two things. First, the offensive line is playing well with Lance Louis at right tackle. So why disrupt that right now when you don't have to? My guess is that Carimi could probably play, but the team wants him to be in a pain-free state when he returns. After all, Vinny, a scope is a relatively minor procedure from which players usually return pretty quickly.

Kieran Murphy (Loyola University)

Hey guys love the chats, what are the chances that Roy Williams gets resigned next year?

Michael
  (1:15 PM)

That's a good question, Kieran. I think it'll come down to a combination of how Williams plays over the second half of the season, and his asking price. If Williams plays well, obviously, he could have suitors once he hits the free-agent market. If he doesn't, though, the Bears would likely only bring him back for a minimal deal.

Scott (Lake and Lasalle)

Is T.O. even a small option if Bennett goes down again?

Michael
  (1:16 PM)

Scott, the answer to that question is no. I've talked to some very high-ranking officials, and T.O. is not even someone they're remotely interested in under any circumstance.

Prince Rogers Nelson (Minneapolis MN)

WHat happened to Johnny Knox this season...he seems MIA?

Michael
  (1:20 PM)

To me, Johnny's reduced repetitions have affected his game. Players have to be involved for a while before they can get into a rhythm, and I think him sharing time with Roy Williams disrupts that rhythm. There's a theory (which I don't necessarily subscribe to) that with Knox going into the final year of his rookie deal next season, the team might be trying to devalue him so they can re-sign him to a lesser deal. I think Knox is still a very good, young, developing player. But he's not going to improve with limited reps.

Brian (Philadelphia, PA)

Even if Roy Williams (huge "if") performs better than he has, there's no way he should be brought back. How has he stayed in the starting lineup when Knox has shown more in less snaps?

Michael
  (1:21 PM)

I think a lot of folks haven't noticed that Knox has actually six of this team's eight games. I wouldn't say Knox has had fewer snaps than Williams. I think it's been about equal.

Bob (AZ)

#1 priorities this offseason...TE and safety(to replace wright). Am i on the ball there?

Michael
  (1:23 PM)

I'd lean more toward receiver, corner, defensive line, and maybe safety later.

Dave (Phoenix)

Was Melton's first game sack barrage a fluke?

Michael
  (1:24 PM)

Dave, I don't think it was a fluke. Melton really is capable of having those game-changing performances. But the key for him is consistency. Melton played better against the Eagles, but still not quite up to the team's standards. More than anything, he just looks like he's struggled to make that transition from being a rotational player to "the guy". He's playing a lot more reps than he did, and Melton even admitted that he might not be playing as hard as once did.

Jacob (Las Vegas)

Is Nick Roach the long term option on the strong side or do you see the Bears upgrading at seasons end?

Michael
  (1:26 PM)

That's a good question. Although publicly the team talks about how they like Roach (and I personally think he's a good player), it seems to me that the Bears are always trying to replace him. I think Roach deserves a legitimate shot to be the long-term option that you spoke about. But I'm not convinced he'll get it.

Steve (Wilmette)

Out of curiosity, were the Bears even considering claiming Haynesworth? His success comes when he plays in 4-3 defenses, and I think that he would definitely have taken some of the load off of Peppers. I know that he'd likely be pricey and he has a lot of baggage to carry, but I think this guy is one of the better DT's in the league.

Michael
  (1:29 PM)

I don't think so, Steve. Obviously you know that Tampa Bay was the only team to put in a claim on him. I saw Haynesworth play twice a year for four years when I covered the Jaguars, and thought he was an absolute beast when motivated. When he was with the Titans the big question was whether he would continue to perform if the team gave him the big-money contract. Well, he went to Washington and didn't perform (and I know he had circumstances beyond his control that affected his play). Then he went to New England -- where careers are often resurrected -- and didn't succeed. I agree that he's more of a 4-3 DT. But the fact that nobody was interested is quite telling. Also, I'm pretty sure the Bears didn't even want to deal with any of the off-the-field drama he's been involved with in the past.

jay (san marcos)

i dont think Lance Briggs will be back next season. can jabara williams or nick roach take his place or will we need to use one of our higher draft picks for the LB position?

Michael
  (1:31 PM)

Think again, Jay. Briggs' contract runs through 2013. So where else is he gonna go? I know he's talked a lot about his contract situation and has the option to hold out. But to hold out is costly. And if you're worrying about money, then that's not the route to go with the fines he'd have to pay.

Steve (Wilmette)

If the Bears still aren't comfortable with their receivers by years end, what are the odds they pull an Atlanta and trade half of their picks to move up and draft Justin Blackmon? He's got ridiculous talent, and some say he is an Anquan Boldin 2.0, someone the Bears had their eyes set on not too long ago.

Michael
  (1:34 PM)

Steve, they'll look to add receivers. But they're not gonna sell the farm to do so. Jerry Angelo has said many times that he's done trading away picks, and I can't blame him. Draft picks are the lifeblood of a team, and you can't build the roster for long-term success without them.

Benjamin (Houston, TX)

Do you think the Bears would be better off not having Hester as a wide out? I really don't see any reason why they would be worse with Williams and Bennett as the 1 and 2.

Michael
  (1:36 PM)

I don't, Benjamin. I've watched Hester over the past two seasons and he's really developing. He's improved quite a bit this season from where he was at this time last year as a receiver. I know it's difficult to be patient with Hester considering what he's making, and the fact that him playing means other receivers are sitting. But I think Hester will continue to improve. Now I think he should be more of a slot guy than the No. 2 though so the Bears can do a better job of taking advantage of his speed.

Michael
  (1:37 PM)

Folks, that's my time. Jeff Dickerson just stepped into the building and he'll carry you guys on home. Thanks for chatting with us. As always, was a blast.

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:37 PM)

Thanks, Mike. Let's keep it going.

Da Toddmeister (San Antonio Tx)

Was Anthony Adams inactive against eagles? Why? And his play has seemed to drop off this year...would you agree?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:40 PM)

Yes, Adams was a gameday inactive vs. Philadelphia. First, the Bears have dressed only four DTs for every game so far this season. So with the return of Matt Toeaina, Adams was the odd man out. But I also don't think Lovie Smith has been exactly thrilled with Adams' play in 2011. However, there is always a chance AA gets back into the mix. The Bears could decide to dress 5 WRs Sunday, instead of 6, which would free up a spot for the Bears to keep up another DL if necessary. AA is a good player, I'm sure he'll recover from this.

Joshua (Denver)

Urlacher get a contract extension at the end of the year???

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:43 PM)

Maybe. I wouldn't have a problem with it. Urlacher has one year left after this season which could max out at $8 million. The way he's played the last two years, given the important role he fills on the defense, I would not be opposed to the Bears tacking on an additional year or two. Health is always a concern for an older player, but ever since the wrist injury at the start of 2009, Urlacher hasn't missed a game the last year and a half.

Jacob (Las Vegas)

Do the Bears plan on replacing Tim Jennings next year? Why didn't they do it this year?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:48 PM)

I don't believe the Bears view Tim Jennings as a long-term starter for them at CB, but you can't deny he's done a pretty good job. Perhaps they go out and try to find a new starter, but try and keep Jennings around in a reserve role. But I'm sure Jennings feels like he should be a starter and paid starters money. So really, it's tough to say what's going to happen at that position. I do know the Bears feel like Jennings has certain limitations, but again, I've got no complaints with the way he's performed.

Dan (Texas)

JD-is J'Marcus Webb the future LT, or do we need to upgrade?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:49 PM)

Sounds like the Bears believe Webb is the LT of the future. Not sure if OT is going to be on the Bears wish list in the offseason (maybe a reserve to replace Frank Omiyale?) with Webb, Lance Louis and Gabe Carimi already on the roster.

mike (boston)

what kind of pick do you think the bears can get for zack bowman next year? i dont see him coming back.

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:50 PM)

Bowman is a free agent after the season.

ben (wilmington nc)

with earl bennett widely regarded as the best WR on the team, are we going going to see him move up the depth chart for some more reps. receivers above him even say he's better and the chemistry with cutler is there too

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:51 PM)

Expect to see Bennett on the field even more on Sunday versus the Lions. Wouldn't be surprised to see Dane Sanzenbacher's role start to diminish.

Mo (Chicago)

DJ Moore - does he aspire to be more than a nickel back? Can he be?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:53 PM)

DJ Moore aspires to be the greatest player in the NFL. Actually, he alreay thinks he is! Just kidding. To answer your question, yes, Moore would like to be an every down cornerback. But I'm not sure the Bears see him in that role at this point of his career.

Ken (Tinley Park)

After the Bears beat the Lions on Sunday, I can only see two more possible losses in their schedule (San Diego, Green Bay). What do you think?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:55 PM)

Did you watch San Diego last night, Ken? They haven't looked very good as of late. I'm a little more concerned about the Bears trip to Oakland later in the month. Bears should beat SD at Soldier Field.

Sanzenwaddle (Ohio)

Major Wright seems to have trouble making open field tackles..how long of a leash does he have w/Lovie?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:57 PM)

Major Wright seems to have trouble playing safety in general. Not sure how much longer of a leash can Lovie give the guy? If it were up to me, he wouldn't been benched for good after the Carolina game.

Kelly (Mesa AZ)

Other then Forte, who is in your mind top 5 the bears need to resign/extend for contracts? And do you think those top 5 should be done during the season or end of season?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:58 PM)

My five are (in order of importance): Earl Bennett, Corey Graham, Amobi Okoye, Izzy Idonije and Tim Jennings.

SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)

Jeff, can a player hold out if he's franchise tagged and not get fined by the team? Forte's rookie "contract" is up after this year. How would that work if he held out?

Jeff Dickerson
  (1:59 PM)

Steve, a franchised player can hold out until right before the start of the regular season without being fined. If I had to guess, both Forte and Briggs will be holdouts next year. Should be a fun summer!

Jeff Dickerson
  (2:00 PM)

Practie is about to end. Thank you everybody. Have a great weekend and enjoy the game on Sunday.